Guest poem sent in by Anuraj
(Poem #45) Winter Night
It snowed and snowed, the whole world over, Snow swept the world from end to end. A candle burned on the table; A candle burned. As during summer midges swarm To beat their wings against a flame Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed To beat against the window pane The blizzard sculptured on the glass Designs of arrows and of whorls. A candle burned on the table; A candle burned. Distorted shadows fell Upon the lighted ceiling: Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs- Of crossed destiny. Two tiny shoes fell to the floor And thudded. A candle on a nightstand shed wax tears Upon a dress. All things vanished within The snowy murk-white,hoary. A candle burned on the table; A candle burned. A corner draft fluttered the flame And the white fever of temptation Upswept its angel wings that cast A cruciform shadow It snowed hard throughout the month Of February, and almost constantly A candle burned on the table; A candle burned.
(Excerpt from Dr.Zhivago) (Translated into english by Bernard Guilbert Guerney) The whole world knows Pasternak as a great novelist,but he is one of the greatest poets of our century as well.His poems have been widely acclaimed.He belonged to the league of poets which include Anna Akhmatova,Joseph Brodsky and the likes.The poets of faith,suffering and human emotions. When I first read Dr.Zhivago,I was fascinated by its richness of poetry. But most of all I liked the poems written by the hero Dr.Yuri Zhivago, a poet and physician caught in the midst of Russian revolution.These are given as an appendix to the novel. This particular poem is my favourite among the lot.It can stand by itself.But related to the context it has more subtle dimensions.The poem is based on a simple incident.The hero still doesen't know the heroine Lara, but on his way home on a cold February night, Yura notices a candle burning through a street window(In that room Lara is taking the decision of her life).He just writes a poem on it.Little does he know that the happenings in that room is shaping up his destiny. This is how Pasternak describes the incident: "As they drove through Kamerger street Yura noticed that a candle had melted a patch in the icy crust on one of the windows.The light seemed to look into the street almost consciously , as if it were watching the passing carriages and waiting for someone. 'A candle burned on the table,a candle burned...' he whispered to himself-the beginning of something confused,formless;he hoped that it would take shape of itself.But nothing more came to him." The poem is remarkable for its simplicity,the richness of imagery and the evocative tone.But in a more subtle way it reflects the poet's compassion,his astounding faith and the suffering he went through. -Anuraj